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-   -   Starting to get cold... (https://ecomodder.com/forum/showthread.php/starting-get-cold-5767.html)

jamessw 10-29-2008 06:30 AM

Starting to get cold...
 
I'm unfortunate to have to use my car extremely early in the morning or extremely late at night ( due to working shift patterns ) and now that the cold is setting in, i'm once again going to have to go through the whole ice scraping routine of getting the car ready.

I'm asking if anyone knows the best methods to efficiently heat the car up to running temperature, and get it to do a short journey ( around 5 miles ) as efficiently as possible during freezing temperatures - as I can only imagine that my fuel consumption is going to plummet these coming months.

Any advice is much appreciated, cheers!

bikin' Ed 10-29-2008 08:54 AM

I'd suggest an engine block heater to preheat your engine and extensive grille block to keep it warm. I guess that would be easy enough at home, but I'm not sure about at work. I have heard of diesel truck drivers using a can of sterno under the oil pan, but that sounds like an accident waiting to happen.

PaleMelanesian 10-29-2008 10:50 AM

I've been testing this, and any amount of idling the engine for warmup is a net loss for fuel consumption. The lowest total consumption comes from starting it and driving away immediately.

Some sort of heater is a good idea.

MazdaMatt 10-29-2008 11:32 AM

Dude, you live in Texas! You don't get winter!

PaleMelanesian 10-29-2008 11:53 AM

No, not in the same way you do. I admit that.

I have a short commute (8-9 miles), and my engine never gets to full temperature in the mornings. Even in the summer, which is serious in Texas, it doesn't get fully warm. When the engine's ideal operating temperature is 180 degrees or more, even 80 is a "cold start".

Letting the car warm up before driving moves you to the right on this chart. You never make up the fuel burned. Less engine run time (eoc, etc) moves you to the left. So don't idle it, just start it and drive away.

Measuring the temperature rise, rather than just the final temp, isolates this from daily and seasonal climate fluctuations.
http://mcguckin.us/files/car/temp_rise_vs_mpg.png

MazdaMatt 10-29-2008 12:00 PM

Because I love my car, i let it idle while I scrape the ice off of it. More ice means more idle. If its -25C with no ice, i start it and go inside for a couple minutes. Mileage be damned, its F'in cold out there and I'm not about to submit the internal parts of my engine to the abuse of start and go at those temps. I'll be installing a block heater when i have the time and my new house has a garage that my car will fit in, once i'm fully moved in.

PaleMelanesian 10-29-2008 12:08 PM

That's fair enough. I'm not going to begrudge you a bit of heat. I know that I couldn't handle -25 period, so more power to you.

MazdaMatt 10-29-2008 12:11 PM

Wasn't trying to knock you, just pitching in my morning routine. My ecomod-to-be is the garage and block heater. When those are in, it will be start and roll :) (after shoveling the foot of snow off my 60-foot driveway)

Daox 10-29-2008 12:17 PM

The garage is nice, but unnecessary. I plugged my car in all last year with it sitting out in the elements.

The real sweet combo is the block heater on a timer, and an electric space heater heating the car up as you scrape, or turn it on early so you don't have to.

MazdaMatt 10-29-2008 12:59 PM

Yeah, the garage is a definate luxury. It was the prime requisite in me searching for a house (i have a race car, it needs a home). The best part about the garage in the winter is NO clearing of anything. No ice to scrape in the ice storms, no 3 feet of snow to clear off when all hell breaks loose. Get in, start up, drive out, press the garage door button :)

wagonman76 10-29-2008 01:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Daox (Post 69875)
The garage is nice, but unnecessary. I plugged my car in all last year with it sitting out in the elements.

The real sweet combo is the block heater on a timer, and an electric space heater heating the car up as you scrape, or turn it on early so you don't have to.

No garage here. Just use a good outdoor extension cord. I bought a 100 ft extension cord 10 years ago and still use it year round.

Ive actually been thinking of the space heater thing for a couple months. Ive got a few $16 ceramic heaters I use now and then, and I know how fast one of them heats up my camper. I want to add a couple of switched outlets to my porch, then I can plug in the heater at night and turn it on when I get up, and then the car should be thawed when Im ready to go. If its not then I could just plug it into a timer. Same goes for a block heater, Ive just gotta figure out what kind would work for my car. Im thinking the lower radiator hose model.

jamessw 10-29-2008 02:14 PM

I'm worried about engine wear and tear by just starting up and letting it go, rather than letting it idle for five minutes before driving off ( at which point it still isn't up to temperature, but a lot closer than it was when i started it ). Does anyone know how much damage is caused by frequent completely cold start-and-go driving?

wagonman76 10-29-2008 02:21 PM

I only warm mine up enough to get the oil pressure up (I have a gauge) and till any oil starved parts like lifters quiet down. Usually 1/2 minute when its cold. Usually the power steering pump is what makes the most noise. But I do take it easy on the road, of course we all probably do while ecodriving plus its safer in the snow. It gets to -20F quite a bit here and Ive never had an engine that burned oil or knocked or anything. They always run great to well over 200k. By then the rest of the car has pretty well rusted out beyond reasonable repair.

Daox 10-29-2008 02:23 PM

As soon as you get oil pressure you are ready to drive. It doens't take long for oil to get pumped throughout the engine. We're talking maybe a few seconds after you start the engine. Even less if you run a synthetic or lower viscosity oil, and/or a block heater.

jamesqf 10-29-2008 03:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MazdaMatt (Post 69867)
Because I love my car, i let it idle...

Which is like over-feeding your dog because you love it. It's better to just start it and drive moderately.

MazdaMatt 10-29-2008 03:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jamesqf (Post 69918)
Which is like over-feeding your dog because you love it. It's better to just start it and drive moderately.

Which is like startling your grandmother awake and making her start jogging... moderately.

Start it up, wait for the revs to settle down. At least them you have oil in all those parts you are about to put a bunch of friction onto :)

vtec-e 10-29-2008 04:44 PM

I carpool to work so every second week i drive about 3 miles to my pickup point. I block the radiator completely those weeks and use the cabin heater to take excess heat WHEN the temp needle rises to operating temp. The fan came on once when i was learning how to work this new system. Other than that it works fine and the temp needle starts to rise in about a minute. I just have to remember to open up the radiator on the weeks it's my turn to drive!
Re: the frost on the window. I just use an old yoga mat to cover the windscreen overnight. It's heavy and covers the whole window. Throw it off and i'm good to go. Still freezes up a little while driving but with the rad blocked, i get heat to the windscreen in maybe 2 minutes. Usually just in time to clear the frost before my vision gets completely blocked!!

ollie

ollie

IndyIan 10-29-2008 04:48 PM

Are any engine parts splash lubricated anymore? Cylinder bores? I've heard that idling the engine when cold is bad for it as basically the oil ain't splashing when its thick and cold at idle. And idling doesn't warm up the oil quickly at all so the splash lubed parts get no lube for quite a while.

I'm running full synthetic 5W30 now so I just get in and drive, I don't use over 1/4 throttle for a few minutes but then its all go. I have been known to drag the brakes while on the gas in town to get the car to warm up quicker but that was just for my comfort...:D I guess its better for the engine to actually get up to temperature but that wasn't the main idea at the time.
Ian

eco_generator 10-29-2008 06:04 PM

This is a very delicate balance for us going through sub-freezing winter months. FE drops regardless and it is very tempting to idle a lot.

I think I will definitely try out block heaters this winter. I plan on riding my bike when the bike trail is clear. So maybe I'll try it out on the wife's car, she has to drive about 4 days a week.

Frost on the windows is also a problem, covering them with plastic (or I guess a yoga mat) helps keep the frost off. All things I want to try this winter.

jamessw 10-30-2008 06:26 AM

My car doesn't get anywhere near temperature if I start up and go straight away, and the engine feels jerky and clunkier than if I let it idle for a while - which is what i'm worried about. I'll try cutting idling time by half, but still giving it some time to warm up to see if there is any improvement.

Daox 10-30-2008 08:03 AM

What about using a block heater James?

tasdrouille 10-30-2008 08:40 AM

My TDI will take ages to warm up in the dead of the winter if I let it idle. In the TDI community, the accepted way to do it is to lightly drive right away and put a good electrical load on the engine (lights, rear window defroster, heated seats, etc.), so when you're idling at that first light of your commute you're still helping your engine warm up.

MetroMPG 10-30-2008 08:50 AM

Very interesting chart, pm. Thanks.

Quote:

Originally Posted by PaleMelanesian (Post 69865)
Letting the car warm up before driving moves you to the right on this chart. You never make up the fuel burned. Less engine run time (eoc, etc) moves you to the right. So don't idle it, just start it and drive away.

http://mcguckin.us/files/car/temp_rise_vs_mpg.png

Did you mean "less run time moves you to the left"?

eco_generator 10-30-2008 10:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tasdrouille (Post 70069)
My TDI will take ages to warm up in the dead of the winter if I let it idle.

Diesels are different, they don't run hot like gas engines. It will practically never warm up just idling.

PaleMelanesian 10-30-2008 10:22 AM

:o You're right, Metro. I edited the post to reflect that change.

pugmanic 10-30-2008 10:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jamessw (Post 69821)
I'm unfortunate to have to use my car extremely early in the morning or extremely late at night ( due to working shift patterns ) and now that the cold is setting in, i'm once again going to have to go through the whole ice scraping routine of getting the car ready.

I'm asking if anyone knows the best methods to efficiently heat the car up to running temperature, and get it to do a short journey ( around 5 miles ) as efficiently as possible during freezing temperatures - as I can only imagine that my fuel consumption is going to plummet these coming months.

Any advice is much appreciated, cheers!

I'd guess the best way will be a grill block. It doesn't help that the Ignis is a small light car with a small engine. Unless its working hard it won't heat up that much.

For a block heater you will need access to a driveway / garage and electrical supply, which is not practical in a lot of situations (esp in the UK). Only modern / large houses have land for driveways etc.

jamessw 10-30-2008 11:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pugmanic (Post 70092)
For a block heater you will need access to a driveway / garage and electrical supply, which is not practical in a lot of situations (esp in the UK).

You've hit the nail on the head for this solution, I have no means of powering a block heater whilst parked for work, and leaving work very late at night / very early in the morning is the problem.

thefirebuilds 10-30-2008 01:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MazdaMatt (Post 69919)
Which is like startling your grandmother awake and making her start jogging... moderately.

Start it up, wait for the revs to settle down. At least them you have oil in all those parts you are about to put a bunch of friction onto :)

Nana likes to stretch her heart muscle.

Ford Man 10-30-2008 03:23 PM

I've went with a full grill block on my daily driver an '88 Escort. It still takes several miles for the thermostat to open, but I've been able to notice a huge difference in how quickly the interior of the car warms up. It hasn't effected the the temperature the engine runs at in the warmer afternoon temperatures but maybe 10 degrees warmer. I have my cooling fan on a toggle switch and have a temperature gauge and the only time it ever gets hot enough to run the fan is if I get in lots of stop and go traffic or long traffic lights.

pugmanic 10-30-2008 03:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jamessw (Post 70097)
You've hit the nail on the head for this solution, I have no means of powering a block heater whilst parked for work, and leaving work very late at night / very early in the morning is the problem.

Luckily I don't work shift any more, but I know where you are coming from. Don't forget it has its advantages as well... You don't have to sit in Rush Hour / School traffic.

I think your best option for the moment will be a lower grill block. This will not only help heating but probably help aerodynamics a little.

http://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a1...i_co_jp_co.jpg

jamessw 10-31-2008 06:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pugmanic (Post 70158)
Luckily I don't work shift any more, but I know where you are coming from. Don't forget it has its advantages as well... You don't have to sit in Rush Hour / School traffic.

Have perfected my deceleration so much I never have to stop at the one light on the journey, it's easy cruising.


Quote:

I think your best option for the moment will be a lower grill block. This will not only help heating but probably help aerodynamics a little.
I'll definitely look into this.

pugmanic 10-31-2008 11:38 AM

Cool - just don't forget, this is an Internet Forum - we require pictures! :)

Ptero 10-31-2008 08:55 PM

I have a ton of experience operating and maintaining fleets of cars, trucks and weird stuff like these marvelous gasoline and diesel Sno-Cats in arctic winter conditions for a state agency over a period of 11 years.

http://ecomodder.com/forum/member-pt...60-snocats.jpg

You guys who use synthetic oil with a cold engine and do short warm-ups are on the right track because synthetic oil will usually allow short duration, minimal load, out-of-correct-geometry piston wall clearance operation* without noticable wear (unless you're getting oil dullition from a drastically over-rich condition resulting in cylinder wall gasoline flood - can you tell?), but for Ecomodders that's not sufficient for good mileage. Your computer will force a rich fuel mixture until the water temperature and/or the air feed** into your air cleaner reaches 150-160 f or so, maybe higher. For the best mileage to your short or long destinations, you have to use an electric water heater to attain operating temperature or close to operating temp before engine start.

*All pistons, forged or cast, are elliptical when cold. When cold, the piston pin axis is shorter than its perpendicular component. This is due to the fact that the casting around the pin expands farther with heat than the does the skirt. Therefore a cold piston, which is elliptical and resting inside a perfectly circular bore, presents a greater exposure of oil and compression ring area along the piston pin than the perpendicular axis until the engine warms up. Therefore, in theory, it is not a good idea to place a load upon a cold engine because of this assymetry (due to unequal loading of the piston rings), which also could result in ring groove deformation or ring shear.

**If your air-feed tubing from the exhaust manifold air heater to the cold air cleaner intake port isn't hooked up or your air cleaner thermostat butterfly isn't working properly, you risk running rich ALL THE TIME! I have seen a lot of guys disconnect this stuff for performance, thinking it will enhance airflow. This is dumb. If what you want is max airflow, just put on a taller air cleaner and raise the lid off its seat. Air will come in from all around which is great for full throttle applications -- if the computer air flow temp has been bypassed. But for mpg applications, keep the air cleaner circuit stock. This circuit is vital for telling the computer to change the mixture from cold rich to warm lean. You don't want to mess this up. There is another thread on Ecomodder where I responded to a guy who had a car where this was totally screwed up. He was getting 12 mpg from a 4-cyl Toyota!

There are two types. The one I do not recommend inserts into a block plug and is the cheapest.

http://z.about.com/d/autorepair/1/0/...ock_heater.gif

These often do not warm up the entire cooling system because they only work by convection.

http://www.dieselgiant.com/blockheatadndvd.JPG

The one I would choose is the lower radiator hose pump heater. They really do the job! These come in several wattage versions, and depending on where you are and how cold it gets, you should choose one that warms your water to 120-degrees f or higher in the two hours of early morning before you go to work. If you don't know which one to get, choose the big one and run it for a shorter period.

Now, this is the trick. Get a timer that is designed to handle the load plus the line resistance of your extension cord (for a 100-foot cord, double the rating VxA=W). Set the timer to come on two hours before you start the car in the morning. Pop the hood and feel the upper radiator hose. It should be toasty. Now feel the top of the radiator, if it is still cold, this indicates that the water is not warm enough to pop the thermostat open and flow warm water through the radiator and back down into the engine, so set the timer for 2 and a half hours and try it the next day. Keep bumping up the duration until it works. This method will save you the most money in electricity, and the savings of gasoline by not running rich will apply against the electrical expense.

In the lower 48, there is usually a gain to be had in cost if you do this right. In the Arctic, you often have to do this for your vehicle to even start at all so it doesn't matter.

There are two additional benefits, beyond dramatically increased mpg. Your heater and defroster wll work instantly at full heat and your engine will last longer. DO NOT RUN YOUR DEFROSTER ON HIGH IF YOU DO THIS. You can crack your windshield from the sudden thermal expansion. I know. I have done this!

Something else I have done is to add one of those ceramic disc heaters to the engine heat system. The metal cases are best. Just mount it sideways to your firewall in the cabin on the passenger side with the switch on and wire it into the engine heat circuit. You'll come out to your vehicle in the morning with all the windows clear and warm and toasty inside.

If you take a climate like Chicago, for example, where electricity is .11 per kwh, then 2 hours at 3600 watts costs 2 x 3.6 x 11 = 79.2 cents. If your vehicle gets 20 miles to the gallon when warm, and 8 mpg when cold, an 8 mile trip to work can use, say, a quarter of a gallon for the first 2 miles and a third of a gallon for the next 6 miles. If gasoline is $2.60 per gallon:

(.25 x $2.60) + (.33 x $2.60) = $1.51 without the water heater.

With the water heater, you get

(8/20) x $2.60 = $1.04

The difference is $1.51 - $1.04 = $0.47 for one way.
So you have spent $0.792 to heat your engine and warm up your car, and you have saved $0.47 in fuel. This means it costs you

$0.47 - $0.792 = -$0.32 or $1.60 per week to have a toasty warm car with clear windshields every morning. But I think this is for like 10 or 15 degrees f, so it looks a lot better when it is a little warmer. One thing you can do is mark the temps on the timer dial, once you get this figured out for your vehicle. I think you'll come out ahead over the season.

All my water heaters have paid for themselves not particularly in gas savings, but in labor savings. Block heaters prevent expensive service calls to start a cold vehicle or worse, a rescue from a remote layover.

Is it worth it for you? How would I know? I live in southern California now. There is a reason! It's no longer an issue.

http://i78.photobucket.com/albums/j1...AttheBeach.jpg

The Atomic Ass 11-01-2008 11:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MazdaMatt (Post 69867)
Because I love my car, i let it idle while I scrape the ice off of it. More ice means more idle. If its -25C with no ice, i start it and go inside for a couple minutes. Mileage be damned, its F'in cold out there and I'm not about to submit the internal parts of my engine to the abuse of start and go at those temps. I'll be installing a block heater when i have the time and my new house has a garage that my car will fit in, once i'm fully moved in.

This isn't actually as helpful as you think. The initial startup is always hardest on the engine, and even at 25C, once the oil is flowing it's better to move it than sit. The parts where heat really matters are hot enough within 30 seconds, remember that there's very little flow of coolant, and by extension movement of the temp gauge, until the engine is up to operating temps internally.

Block heaters help, naturally, and when it's that cold, if I have to drive a car, I grab the heated gear I use on my Burgman. Forget waiting 5 minutes for a cold car to blow hot air. :p

And to all: blocking off the radiator is the single most important thing that MUST be done in the winter time. That radiator is sized for the engine running at high load in 100F+ temperatures, and it is grossly over-efficient in the winter time. My Burgman will not even get off the C unless my radiator is fully blocked. And it doesn't overheat below 50F unless I hit the highway. Too much air cooling going on down below.

The Atomic Ass 11-01-2008 11:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by IndyIan (Post 69953)
Are any engine parts splash lubricated anymore? Cylinder bores? I've heard that idling the engine when cold is bad for it as basically the oil ain't splashing when its thick and cold at idle. And idling doesn't warm up the oil quickly at all so the splash lubed parts get no lube for quite a while.

I'm running full synthetic 5W30 now so I just get in and drive, I don't use over 1/4 throttle for a few minutes but then its all go. I have been known to drag the brakes while on the gas in town to get the car to warm up quicker but that was just for my comfort...:D I guess its better for the engine to actually get up to temperature but that wasn't the main idea at the time.
Ian

Cylinder bores have been forced lubricated... For a while. My '90 Subird had them. I can't really think of anything gets splashed, really.

As for thick oil, this is why they make low viscosity synthetic oil. My Burgman calls for 10W40 dino, and I run 5W30 synthetic. Makes winter starting easier, and in some cases, possible. Those small batteries don't like cranking against all that useless oil pressure. :thumbup:

neal_2000 11-16-2008 12:45 PM

For all of you who think that idling your cars when its cold out until it warms up because its easier on the engine are wrong to think that. When you idle your car the crank shaft is moving too slow so it just sits on the lower crank bearings and wears them out. But when you drive at slightly higher rpms it will slightly lift up and center itself in the main bearings. This is the reason why police vehicles and taxi cabs have to get their engines rebuilt so often.

The best way is to (if you can) just start it up, and drive away accelerating at the slowest rate you can until its warmed up. Of course, if you have to jump on a freeway right away you would want to get it warmed up a little first.

thefirebuilds 11-16-2008 01:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by neal_2000 (Post 72647)
For all of you who think that idling your cars when its cold out until it warms up because its easier on the engine are wrong to think that. When you idle your car the crank shaft is moving too slow so it just sits on the lower crank bearings and wears them out. But when you drive at slightly higher rpms it will slightly lift up and center itself in the main bearings. This is the reason why police vehicles and taxi cabs have to get their engines rebuilt so often.

The best way is to (if you can) just start it up, and drive away accelerating at the slowest rate you can until its warmed up. Of course, if you have to jump on a freeway right away you would want to get it warmed up a little first.


I would like to refute your argument. Police vehicles and taxis are rebuilt frequently "chronologically" because they put higher than average miles as service vehicles than a comparable commuter car. I commute 35 mins a day, cops use their car 8-10 hours a day. They're rebuilt at like 150-300k...

bgd73 11-16-2008 09:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MazdaMatt (Post 69863)
Dude, you live in Texas! You don't get winter!

I clearly remember ice storms at 3 am, and 75 degree afternoons in a texas january ... like all of maines year in one day.(wichitah falls) Of course it broke some records I guess..back in 1993. lucky me. happy to be there. :confused:

I would go heat riser,get air form within engine bay, restrict intake.short trips need it fast. cars have long trip designed in them...a mod or two necessary.

MazdaMatt 11-17-2008 08:49 AM

Neal, if you start and immediately drive away, you're putting the stress of accelerating a 3000 pound car on the sidewalls of your cylinders that have no oil on them. You dohn't need to idle till it warms up (my car can idle for 30 m inutes in -25*C and it won't warm up), but you DO need to give it a moment to get your oil circulating.

Cop cars and taxis are the hardest driven cars I can think of. They are not turned off for 8-10 hours at a time, they are constantly in stop-go traffic, and they are typically in a rush. Taxis are also typically driven by people that want to make the money fast, not preserve their vehicles.

Johnny Mullet 11-17-2008 09:38 AM

Wintertime has been here for some time now in my region. We actually got well over a foot of Lake Effect snow in my area yesterday and overnight. Way before winter, I installed a lower grille black made from truck mudflap material and used the block to mount my LED lamps and moved my license plate to be flush with the front of the car....................

http://i75.photobucket.com/albums/i3...etf/led003.jpg

http://i75.photobucket.com/albums/i3...etf/led006.jpg

This is really nice when a passing truck throws 30 pounds of slush, ice, and gravel at you when passing. My car warms up at least 50% faster than without the block.

I also installed a tank heater like described in this thread................
http://ecomodder.com/forum/showthrea...-how-5682.html

http://i75.photobucket.com/albums/i3.../brakes032.jpg

http://i75.photobucket.com/albums/i3.../brakes030.jpg

http://i75.photobucket.com/albums/i3.../brakes034.jpg

I bought a cheap mechanical timer and plugged it in overnight. I set the timer to turn on at 3:30 AM and turn off at 5:30 AM. When I got into the car this morning, I had warm heat already and my temp gauge was already in the normal operating range. My lifters and engine made none of the normal "cold weather noises" since using the block heater also.

Best 2 mods I have done to my car.


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